Story Go Round 01/14/2006, round 1, #3

Butterflies are Free

Outside in the pouring rain, he stood looking up. His eyes blinked in response to the falling droplets which splashed on his face like happy little water sprites. Somehow it felt good.

"Harold, put your coat on or you'll get a cold." Harold gave his mother an abashed look and she yanked him after her. They hustled down down the muddy cobblestone lane, the boy with his eyes still drawn to the sky. Should he tell someone - or let it be his own personal miracle? - he went round and round like that every day.

Someone coughed in the alley they were passing. Harold turned in time to see someone poking through a trash bag. His mother quickly shielded his eyes. "Harold, you need to keep away from your father. He'll only bring you down." But Harold wondered if 'down' was exactly where he needed to go, and he had made up his mind by the time they reached reached the notary's office to go down as far as he could. So he waited patiently as his mother and the notary conducted their business. And he waited patiently as she put finishing touches on his school uniform. They had a trademark silent dinner over conspicuously balanced fare and she told him to be ready for his departure tomorrow.

"I want you to do whatever anyone tells you to do - without question," she told him earnestly, but he was too busy making plans of his own to listen. As soon as he was outside, he made for the unmarked abandoned mine. He'd stumbled across - okay, into it - the previous year and had explored a ways inside. But he knew there was more to see. The world was full of things to see and he wasn't worried about going "down". In face, he'd bring some weights to strap onto his cart and let gravity do the rest. How far down did the odd tunnel go? - he wondered as he pushed off. The cart picked up speed and rumbled down the tunnel straight as an arrow. The light from his lantern only showed a few feet ahead. He cart banked around several turns and suddenly tipped over. The lantern rolled off and came to rest about twenty yards further down, as did Harold. He saw nothing until it went out a full minute later, but then his eyes widened slowly and his conscious mind let go. He seemed, suddenly, to be coming apart at the seams. What was one moment a gaping mouth became a dizzying flutter of reds and pinks and whites - which spread out, and as they were joined by more in the colors of his uniform and so on, they filled the cavern completely. His father watched from above with envy - it was something he had never allowed himself to do. They were free. They were finally free!

Amber is purple; John is pink; Alan is blue; Terry is orange